BROOKFIELD, Conn. —Two Brookfield women believe the secret to better parenting is “connection before correction.”
Robin Eckstein and Carol Dores founded Positive Discipline of Western Connecticut in 2013. The group, which works with parents in the community, promotes the development of life skills through classes that encourage positive relationships between a parent and child.
Unlike some parenting programs, Positive Discipline’s classes have a unique twist: They give parents an opportunity to learn in an hands-on environment.
“The program is built on experiential exercises and roleplaying,” Eckstein said. Parents, who often read off scripts, play the roles of both parent and child.
“You get to experience how it feels to say things a certain way as a parent and see how the ‘child’ — who is a parent playing a child — is receiving that information. ‘The child’ gets to feel how it feels to get spoken to a certain way,” Eckstein said.
Sometimes parents resort to yelling out of frustration. The tools they learn through Positive Discipline can help prevent those outbursts from occurring, Eckstein said.
Eckstein also advises parents to acknowledge their mistakes to their children. If children see that is acceptable for their parent to make mistakes, they will learn it’s acceptable to make mistakes, too, she said.
Eckstein helped establish the western Connecticut chapter after Dores’ sister, who lives in Utah, heard about the program. Founded on the West Coast in the 1980s, the program is based on the bestselling "Positive Discipline" books by Dr. Jane Nelsen, which cover children from birth to teens.
The western Connecticut group has conducted classes in Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown and Danbury. According to Eckstein, 400 people have attend a free introduction, parenting class, workshop, or educator class to date.
Last year, the group held a tri-lingual classes in Danbury, which were taught in English, Spanish and Portuguese. It hopes to offer similar programming this year.
For more information on Positive Discipline of Western Connecticut, visit the organization’s website here .